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Thursday December 07, 2023

Sudan battles rage as Saudi hosts latest truce talks

By AFP
May 08, 2023

KHARTOUM: Gun battles and air strikes on Sunday again flared in Sudan’s capital, which has been rocked by four weeks of fighting despite the latest ceasefire efforts backed by Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Multiple truce deals have been declared and quickly violated since fighting erupted between army and paramilitary forces on April 15 in the poverty-stricken country with a history of political instability.

Fierce combat since then has killed at least 700 people, most of them civilians, wounded thousands and driven a mass of exodus of Sudanese and foreign nationals.In embattled Khartoum, fighter jets have bombed enemy positions as terrified residents stayed barricaded indoors amid dire shortages of water, food, medicines and other staples.

Across the Red Sea, in the Saudi city of Jeddah, talks were underway aiming for a ceasefire that could aid the desperate efforts to bring humanitarian aid to the besieged population.The generals leading the warring parties have blamed each other for the violence but have said little about the talks being held in Jeddah since Saturday.

Army spokesman Brigadier General Nabil Abdalla said the talks were on how a truce “can be correctly implemented to serve the humanitarian side”, while Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who heads the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), only said on Twitter that he welcomed the technical discussions.

Riyadh and Washington have supported the “pre-negotiation talks” and urged the belligerents to “get actively involved”.Hopes for these and other international efforts to silence the guns have been modest as fighting has raged, threatening a descent into full-scale civil war and a major humanitarian disaster.

“The lowest common denominator of the international community is a cessation of hostilities,” said Sudan researcher Aly Verjee at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg. “But there is no apparent consensus on what to do beyond that initial objective.”

To be meaningful, Verjee said, any new truce declaration would require a “credible process to monitor and verify ceasefire non-compliance”, and mutually agreed “consequences in the likely event of ceasefire breaches”.